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Speciale ultimo: A most unusual custom Ducati

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
You could call it a mongrel, or a parts bin special—but we reckon this unusual Ducati is one of the cleverest and most original builds we’ve seen for a long time.

It uses parts from several very different Ducatis, and comes from an Englishman called Chris Dedman. He lives in the ancient market town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and despite the quality of the work, he’s not a pro builder.

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
“This bike’s taken years to build,” says Chris. “It’s been completely modified from the ground up, and down to every last nut and bolt being replaced or re-plated.”

Chris works in the IT industry but has loved motorcycles for 25 years. “The Ducati was built as a hobby, although I’m ‘in talks’ about starting a business to build custom bikes and sell parts,” he says. “I’m currently working on a 1993 Honda CBR900 Fireblade as my second bike.”

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
To kick off this build, Chris bought two complete Ducatis: a 1997 ST2 and a 2003 Monster S4R. “I stripped them both down and sold all the unwanted bits,” he says. “I only kept the frame from the ST2.”

Then he bought a 900SS, so he could get his hands on its renowned air-cooled engine. “I wanted to use as many OEM Ducati parts as possible.” To sweeten the deal, the 904cc desmo motor had just had a full rebuild.

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
With the help of local specialists V-Moto, the ST2 subframe was detabbed and a new rear loop was welded in.

They also had to weld on new mounting spots at the front for the tank, which came from a 999—along with the heavily truncated seat unit.

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
“I bought a standard 999 seat section and cut it down with a Dremel,” says Chris. “It took a while to get that look!”

The minimalistic look was the hardest part—despite the engine transplant and the multitude of Monster bits being grafted on. “It meant building a battery and electrics box, and new mounts for the ignition, speedo and headlight.”

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
“There are a lot of components to fit onto the front of a bike, and you need to consider the steering lock too. It took some clever engineering to get the packaging right while using as many OEM parts as possible.”

Chris ended up getting a bespoke loom, built by a former Royal Air Force electronics technician who spent 14 years working on missile systems. Not surprisingly, everything works—right down to the idiot lights. The loom is connected to a lightweight Speedcell battery.

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
The engine is now hooked up to a custom exhaust system built by V-Moto, but that took time to get right too. The headers are stainless steel and were purged to keep the welds smooth on the inside.

“It’s difficult to package these: you need a scavenger/link to make it run correctly, and make sure the header lengths are as equal as possible. Then you need to factor in clearance around the footrests and rear wheel,” says Chris.

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
“I tried titanium cans with a MotoGP setup. But because there was no scavenger or baffling, the bike didn’t run correctly and spat flames. It was too anti-social!” An Arrow muffler has helped to fix the issue.

The bling—and the top-shelf handling—comes from the Monster S4R parts. Chris has grafted on the 43mm adjustable Showa USD forks, the Öhlins remote reservoir shock, the 17-inch Marchesini wheels and the Brembo braking system, which sports twin 320 mm discs and four-piston calipers at the front.

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
He’s also installed the S4R’s single-sided swingarm and carbon hugger, and swiped a carbon front fender from a Monster 1200.

“The bike now only weighs 169 kilos [372 pounds] with fuel. The weight distribution is F51/R49 and all the weight is between the axles,” says Chris. “We paid a lot of attention to the brief: a bike that is rideable and reliable, and keeping the mass central.”

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
Chris’ Duc weighs a whopping 24 kilos less than an S4R, and we’re betting it’s incredible to ride.

And we’re pleased to hear that despite the effort and man-hours involved, Chris doesn’t pamper his baby. “It has a full MOT [the UK roadworthiness certificate], and my first ride was a 500-mile trip through the Welsh valleys.”

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.
The Welsh might be famous for their beautiful choirs, but the sound of this incredible machine echoing around the mountains of South Wales must be even more heavenly.

Chris Dedman Instagram | Images by Jack Beasley

A most unusual custom Ducati built from 900SS, Monster S4R and ST2 parts.

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